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SADC Panel Punts on Zimbabwe Crisis Talks as Members Fail to Show

Two members of the SADC troika on security - Zambian President Rupiah Banda and Mozambican President Armando Guebuza, did not make it to Gaborone, Botswana, for the crisis-resolution talks

The Southern African Development Community troika or committee on politics, defense and security was obliged late Friday to schedule a meeting at which its members were to take up the deepening crisis in Zimbabwe after two heads of state failed to show up.

The mini-summit was cancelled at the last minute after President Rupiah Banda of Zambia and Mozambican President Armando Guebuza failed to arrive in Gaborone, Botswana.

Mr. Banda is currently chairman of the troika. South African President Jacob Zuma, SADC mediator in the longrunning internal disputes in the Harare power-sharing government, was the only one of the three troika members to be on hand.

Banda aide Dickson Jere told VOA that Mr Banda, who had been on a visit to Brazil, had urgent buisnesss to attend to and had excused himself.

A Zuma aide told VOA that theSouth African leader ended up holding consultative meetings with the three principals in the Zimbabwean unity government - President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara.

Lindiwe Zulu, a foreign policy advisor to Mr. Zuma, said her president will now travel to Harare for further consultations before updating his fellow troika members.

Zimbabwean Industry Minister Welshman Ncube, secretary general of the Movement for Democratic Change formation led by Deputy Prime Minister Mutambara, confirmed the new schedule. Ncube said President Zuma is expected to be in Harare next week.

Political analyst Charles Mangongera said the no-shows by Mr Banda and Mr. Guebuzza suggest that SADC does not assign a high priority to resolving the Harare dispute.

The troika leaders were were expected to refer the increasingly acute political crisis in Zimbabwe to a full SADC summit on Saturday, but that too was scuttled.

Extreme tensions within the Harare power-sharing government were to be taken up by the full SADC summit under the heading of the regional and economic environment.

The summit was initially called discuss the transformation of the African Union into a powerful economic and political bloc along the lines of the European Union.

Pretoria sources tell Studio 7 that Mr Zuma is expected to press the three principals in the national unity government - to implement decisions reached on issues left unresolved or which have arisen since the government was launched in 2009.